The Candyman 2021 Movie Review
By: Justin Hopkins
So, this is a little late. Wanted to have this up Saturday, but wasn’t able to see it over the weekend like I had planned and here we are. My excitement growing as we got closer, and doubling with me going back and watching the series again. With that said though, tempered my expectations. Knew that this was going to be a sequel to the first and people like Tony Todd and Virginia Madsen, but didn’t put much thought on that. Not expecting to see a lot of them and wanting to see what the new cast had to offer. Went in open minded as I could be and with about a day to think and process it over. Lets discuss.
The movie kicks off at Cabrini Green in the seventies, with a kid, William Burke. Taking his laundry to the laundry room, about to leave when a man comes out of a whole in the wall, with a hook in one hand and candy in the other. We go back to the cops outside, who are looking for a suspect, when we hear a scream and cut to the title sequence. Catching up with Troy and boyfriend, Grady. On their way to visit Troy’s Sister Brianna and aspiring artist Anthony McCoy. During the visit, Troy tells the tale of Helen Lyle, but from the perspective that she was the villain. Killed the dog and all those people. Had tried to throw the baby into the fire, when the people stopped her, but she threw herself in while they were checking on the baby. They had a laugh over it, thinking he was lying, especially over the dog part, and Anthony looked it up later to see if it was true. Story on his mind the next day when the Curator doesn’t like his newest piece. Throwing himself into the idea of Cabrini then vs now after Gentrification, and Helen’s story. Going down to what was left and the new houses. Getting stung by a bee and meeting William all grown up. Taking him back to the Laundry Mat he runs and tells him about Candyman. That Candyman is a lot of things to a lot of people. In his case, it’s Sherman. Going back to when he was in that moment. That the man with the hook was a character who gave out candy to kids. One day, some razors ended up in the candy and cops came looking. Finding him when he screamed, beat, tortured and killed him. A few weeks later more razors in candy turned up. Sherman had been innocent. Now if you say the name, Candyman five times in the mirror, he’ll come and kill you. Invigorated by the tale, Anthony runs home to paint a picture of Sherman being assaulted by multiple white fists, and when he displays it at the exhibit, puts it behind mirrors, challenging people to say his name. When critic, Finely, takes him to task over tastelessly picking the worst parts of Cabrini for him own personal gain. He goes on a bit of a bender and gets into an argument with the Curator and Brianna is quick to get them both out. We stick with the curator after closing, him and his girlfriend are making out when she says Candyman five time, and they are killed. Brianna finding them the next morning. Later that night, we see Brianna having a nightmare. Of seeing her Dad, killing himself. When she wakes, Anthony is in the bathroom, cleaning a bee sting that is getting worse. He had a nightmare too, but doesn’t talk about it. Shaken up he starts looking deeper. Getting his hands on some of Helen’s notes from the school. In the elevator, encounters Sherman. Who gets close before vanishing. Rushing home. Frantically beginning to paint Sherman again. When he gets a call from Finely and he goes to see her. Promising Brianna he’d make an important dinner. Talking about his piece, when he dares her to say his name, when she excuses herself to go to the bathroom. While she is gone, he picks open his now putrid Bee sting, and he goes to put a towel on it. Calling her name, when he follows and Sherman appears in the mirror. Mimicking his movements. Only leaving when Finley comes out and Anthony rushes out. Moments later, we see Finely being killed. The news breaks as he is at the Dinner of her death and he rushes out. Going back to William who tells him that Candyman isn’t only real, but Sherman is one of many. Hive mind, and the first being, Daniel Robitaille. and I will stop there for now.
Well, lets start this off where I started the last two, changing of the Urban Legend, and they did a fantastic job, by not changing it, but branching off it. That Daniel isn’t the only one, and so many other Black Men who have died unjustly can become a Candyman of their own and it’s a seemingly never ending burden they have to wear cause unjust deaths never seem to stop. Allowing them to keep Daniel’s legacy intact but at the same time, shift the focus to Sherman and it came off very well.
I adored the Shadow Puppetry they utilized through for the flashbacks. Was delighted every time they utilized it. Such a fun and interesting way to tell the legends and flashbacks. Those who brought that to life deserves a round of applause cause it was wonderful.
The death scenes were all well done. Had an alright amount of carnage candy, such as the woman getting her throat slashed at the museum. Enjoyed how they had Sherman killing within mirrors and reflection. The shot of Finely, one of my favorite shots in the movie, of them panning out. Can see her neighbors doing their own thing in their apartments and in hers you see her being killed and head slam against the glass.
Yahya Abdul-Mateen the second, did a great job as Anthony. Was a likeable guy who made you care about his plight. Was easy to get behind from the jump and invest in seeing how he could overcome. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett was good as a bit of comedy relief. Michael Hargrove was perfect for Sherman. Playing the role as being a misunderstood nice guy excellently.
Alright, on to the negatives; what was going on with Anthony? Besides the fact that no one is pointing out his bee sting is going crazy, but they by the end is looking like… a beehive of sorts. What I think is that when he was captured and held as a baby by Daniel. He was feeding him honey and was able to use that to somehow be reborn in Anthony’s body.. I don’t know. They barely even talk about that either. When it was almost staged to be a big reveal. They needed to spend more time on Anthony’s story a bit more.
Felt like they could have either given Brianna something else to do, or simply cut some of her scenes to build on another stories. As sad as it was for her with her Dad and all, but it is an arc that means nothing in the long run and this one is probably more minor and annoying only me, but shouldn’t Sherman have been going after her as well. She was in the room when Anthony said it.
In the end, it was a fine sequel and gave them a place to go for more installments. They build off the first in a good way and branching the Legend the way they did was a smart move, but the negatives do hamper it a fair amount though. Especially the Anthony stuff. I would still suggest going to check it out for yourself though. I could very well have missed or overlooked something and you might enjoy this more then I did. Final Grade – B-
As always, I hope you enjoyed and….
Thank You For Reading!